Article I, section 15 is a part of our Bill of Rights. See TEX. CONST. art. I, § 15. It provides in pertinent part:
The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate. The Legislature shall pass such laws as may be needed to regulate the same, and to maintain its purity and efficiency.
TEX. CONST. art. I, § 15. Article I, section 15 guarantees the right of trial by jury for those causes of action or analogous causes of action for which a jury trial was available when the 1876 Constitution was adopted. A brief review of prior decisions reflects that a jury trial could be had for divorce cases before the 1876 Constitution was adopted. Accordingly, a party to a divorce proceeding has a constitutional right to a jury trial under article I, section 15.
Article V of the Texas Constitution governs the judiciary. See TEX. CONST. art. V. Section 10 provides:
In the trial of all causes in the District Courts, the plaintiff or defendant shall, upon application made in open court, have the right of trial by jury; but no jury shall be empaneled in any civil case unless demanded by a party to the case, and a jury fee be paid by the party demanding a jury, for such sum, and with such exceptions as may be prescribed by the Legislature.
Our Supreme Court has defined the term “cause” to include “any legal process which a party institutes to obtain his demand or by which he seeks his right.” Because a divorce proceeding involves disputes over property rights and frequently the custody and support of children, we hold that it is a “cause” for which a party has a constitutional right to a jury trial under article V, section 10.